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ILO Governing Body, 344th session - statement on Ukraine

ILO Governing Body, 344th session 
14th to 26th March 2022 
INS Opening 


Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. 

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia[1], Montenegro* and Albania*, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement. 

Many thanks for giving us the floor 

And many thanks to the DG Ryder for his opening speech 

As we gather today, at the 344th session of ILO Governing Body, the Russian Federation is pursuing its aggression against Ukraine, including attacks on civilians.  

This is not only an attack on a free, democratic and peaceful Ukraine. It is an attack on global stability and security; an outrageous violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and a violation of human rights and basic humanitarian principles . 

So, let us begin by making it very clear: the EU condemns in the strongest terms Russia's unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine. The EU also condemns the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. We support the democratically elected government of Ukraine and its efforts to defend its territory within its internationally recognised borders and its people.  

We fully align with the UN Secretary General's appeal to Russia to stop its aggression and his grave concern over civilian casualties and the human rights implications of Russia's actions. We also fully endorse Director General Ryder’s statement which describes this as one of the darkest chapters in the ILO’s century long history and a brutal repudiation of the organization’s mission to promote peace through social justice. 

We stand by the women and men of Ukraine whose extraordinary courage and determination exemplifies their commitment to freedom, sovereignty and democratic values  . As pointed out by DG Ryder, working people are among the first victims of this aggression and the devastation of jobs, enterprises and livelihoods will be massive and endure for many years to come. 

The EU and its Member States express its unwavering support for the tripartite constituents in Ukraine – workers, employers and its freely-elected government – at this most difficult time.  

Chair, 

While now we are focused on the Russian aggression  against Ukraine, we cannot forget other situations where human and labour rights are violated. We once again commend ILO for its invaluable work striving for fundamental principles and rights at work, supporting governments, workers and employers throughout the world. 

This aggression not only brings suffering to the people of Ukraine. We are seeing this as an attempt by the Russian Federation to reshape the core principles of international relations.  

Multilateralism, with the United Nations and ILO at its core, remains the only way to achieve global peace, security and prosperity.  

We are ready to work with all ILO members, governments, workers and employers, to firmly defend the principles and values enshrined in the Constitution of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The Declaration of Philadelphia asserts that all human beings have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity.  

Together with a group of countries, we will propose a resolution on the matter for consideration of the Governing Body and we count on the wide support of all constituents 

The EU and its Member States will continue to be seized of this matter and call for the ILO to consider the impact of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine on ILO’s work, mandate and tripartite constituents in this and future sessions of the Governing Body and the International Labour Conference.  

Thank you, Chair. 

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